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End of Times

Bayou-Diversity (28 April 2019) Many people along the rivers and bayous of Louisiana got hell scared out of them on the early morning of November 13, 1833. Clergymen reported widespread, sudden confessions followed by conversion of sinners as definitive signs of the Apocalypse engulfed their world. Indeed, every living human east of the Rocky Mountains in North America was exposed to phenomena with heavenly origins never since repeated in history. It is noted in the chronicles of scientists of the day, Native Americans, and Deep South slaves. It was "the night the stars fell." On this date a record-breaking meteor storm of such intensity as to be nearly unimaginable occurred. We now kn

Letter to a Red Oak

Bayou-Diversity (21 April 2019) I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to tell you your business, like how to grow or how not to grow all spraddled out like that. You’ve been around almost twice as long as I have and obviously know a thing or two about how to get along in this world. Homesteading so close to the road, you’ve seen a lot. I’m sorry to say that it was likely my great grandfather who began contributing to the soil compaction over your roots when he bought the first modern wagon in this area, a John Deere with solid rubber tires. But upland hardwood trees were common around here in those days, and folks needed shade. Then it was my grandfather with his nineteen twenty-somet

Blue Jays

Bayou-Diversity (14 April 2019) In Louisiana don’t bother looking for blue jays on Fridays. Friday is the day that all blue jays spend with the devil telling him of the bad things we did earlier in the week – or so I’ve been told. Because of their occasional habit of eating the eggs of other birds, blue jays are often maligned. Even though they are striking bright blue birds with black necklaces and white underparts, they get little respect. The famous naturalist John James Audubon painted three of them, referred to their beauty as physical perfection, and in the next breath denigrated their general moral character by calling them rogues, thieves, knaves, pilferers, and egg suckers. T


Bayou-Diversity (7 April 2019) The title of this blog is “Bayou-Diversity,” which is of course a play on the term biodiversity. Biodiversity can be defined as all the varieties of life forms in a certain area. The area can be as large as planet Earth, where an estimated 10 million species of plants, animals, and microbes live (95 percent of which are made up of arthropods and microbes) or as small as a single drop of bayou water. Although the diversity of life is sometimes viewed at levels as minute as individual genes, it is more commonly considered at the scale of ecosystems. Within Louisiana several broad ecosystems are delineated by dominant vegetation types and include coastal marshes,


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